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Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Church

What do you think the primary role of the church is? I'm not talking about the Church (big-C), but the local church that has four walls (at least) and weekly meetings. I think I'm pretty clear with what big C-Church is about, but lately I've become less and less clear of what role the local church is supposed to play in the Kingdom.



Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Problem of Evil

Every Christian should realize that the problem(s) of evil are difficult to deal with and can stand as legitimate obstacles to someone's belief in the existence of God. For those that are not familiar with this problem, I will give you a very quick version:
  1. If God exists, he is omnipotent and omnibenevolent
  2. Evil exists.
So, it seems that:
  1. God wanted to prevent evil, but couldn't and so is not omnipotent, or
  2. God could have prevented evil but didn't want to and so is not omnibenevolent.
It seems that there is an inconsistency within the first two premises, so they both cannot be true at the same time. The non-theist says we have good reasons for believing evil exists, so we should reject (1). The theist, however, doesn't want to reject either so must figure out a way to make (1) and (2) consistent. This version of the problem of evil is one of many, but gets the general idea across.

What I hope is that Christians understand the force of this problem and do not just chalk it up to the lack of faith in God in the non-believer. That probably plays a role, but even many Christians are troubled by this as well. I feel that we have good responses to this type of problem in the 'free will' defense, but it isn't likely to answer the non-theists questions on the first pass. I recently had the opportunity to lecture for two introduction to philosophy classes at the University of Oklahoma on the problem of evil and had some really good discussions with many of the students. If you would like more information on this type of objection, let me know and I'd love to direct you to some great resources.

Grace and peace,